Five-year plan will use lobster industry to grow tourism and economy in Bridlington

Work is underway on an ambitious five-year plan that will see Bridlington take full advantage of its position as the largest lobster port in the UK and Europe.

Bridlington Harbour saw the landing of £10million of shellfish in 2019.
Bridlington Harbour saw the landing of £10million of shellfish in 2019.

In 2019, Bridlington Harbour saw the landing of £10million of shellfish, equating to 311 tonnes of lobster, 2,669 tonnes of crab and 572 tonnes of whelks.

Despite a reduction in the value of landings in the past year as a result of the current global pandemic, East Riding of Yorkshire Council and the local shellfish industry is determined, more than ever, to sustain the success of the lobster fishery, for the benefit of the local economy.

Since 2011, the Holderness coast, including Bridlington, Hornsea and Withernsea has benefitted from a European and Government-funded Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) grant programme, which has delivered over 60 projects and secured £7m of investment to help the fishing industry and coastal communities.

One of these projects – the Yorkshire Marine Research Centre – opened last year in Bridlington Harbour, and aims to secure sustainable growth in the fishery by examining environmental factors affecting the growth of juvenile lobster.

Councillor Jane Evison, portfolio holder for economic growth and tourism at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “Without doubt, we can see massive potential to help the industry and the hospitality businesses in the area.

“Promoting the largely hitherto ‘unrecognised’ importance of the local shellfish industry and, in particular, lobster, could see it drive Bridlington and our other fishing towns’ economies at this very challenging time for the hospitality sector.”

The first step in bringing this to fruition has been the appointment of Northern Shores Marine Consultancy to engage with local businesses and the community, identify key stakeholders and start to gain support for the plan.

The team is headed up by James Wood and Magnus Johnson and, as well as promoting the initiative, they will explore the potential for improved branding, establish interest in ‘fish and cook’ excursions, promote use of locally caught seafood in the hospitality sector, and examine the scope to expand the local seafood takeaway offer.

James Wood said “As a local team that has been involved in the local fishery in a variety of ways for many years, we are really excited to have this opportunity to help drive forward this initiative for the benefit of the whole of the coastal economy.”